arrangement may be made advantageous to the Government and satisfactory to the company.
4. I have now to ask your attention to the subject of the coast defense of Mississippi. The interception of your communication with that portion of your department has caused us to take into serious consideration the formation of a new district, extending from the mouth of Pearl River to East Pascagoula, and detaching it from your command, as it must be almost impracticable for you to give it any personal attention. In the mean time, however, or concern has been awakened by news that there is considerable for you to give it any personal attention. In the mean time, however, our concern has been awakened by news that there is considerable communication kept up between our coast and the enemy by small traders running with sloops and schooners out of the different streams that empty into the Mississippi Sound, and supplying the enemy at Ship Island and the Chandeleurs with all the intelligence they can gather, as well as the daily papers of New Orleans. I inclose you for examination and reflection a paper on this subject, prepared by Honorable J. J. McRae, who is intimately acquainted with the whole coast, and on which the President has written an indorsement that I also recommend to your attention.* We must, as far as possible, protect our people against marauders, and the proclamation issued by the Yankee general, as continued in the papers, is os open an invitation to the slaves to revolt, that they ought, in my opinion, at once be removed out of the reach of the incendiary gang, who are not simply our enemies, but the enemies of the human race. If you think you cannot communicate with the southern coast of Mississippi with sufficient facility to supervise efficiently defensive measures, you will be good enough so to inform me at once, and we must try to find a commander for it as a separate district.
Please inform me how the powder factory is getting on and what quantity of powder you have. Major Rains tells me that the mills thus far are not making over 1,500 pounds a day, although capable of making about twice that quantity.
I am, your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT Numbers 1, C. S. A., New Orleans, La., December 24, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 18th instant relative to furnishing Commodore Hollins with cannon powder. I have made it a point, without instructions, to aid him to the extent of my ability, and he has already been furnished by us with nearly 4 tons of powder. I have collected materials at great trouble and expense and urged to completion a large mill for making powder for the purpose of supplying my own wants, and they are yet far from being in a satisfactory condition. I have already turned over to the Navy more powder than in justice to the Army I should have done, and it will require more than I have on hand to give a half allowance to the guns I have mounted. If I can be supplied with saltpeter in large quantities I can easily furnish Captain Hollins and myself, or if he will procure the saltpeter I will have it worked up. As matters now stand he cannot rely upon me for a pound. I must supply myself
*See McRae to Davis, p. 781; indorsement not found.